I'll be traveling to Helsinki soon and I have things planned out in Helsinki, but I'm thinking it would be fun to take a couple of day trips! Are there any fun places outside of Helsinki that are maybe a 1-2 hour bus ride away? Or should I rent a car? I like exploring the outdoors, eating vegetarian food, and shopping at local boutiques. Thanks!
There is Porvoo with its beautiful Old Town and nearby archipelago. There should be plenty of restaurants and places to shop.
You can get there by bus in about an hour's time. Alternatively you could take a Ferry from Kauppatori in Helsinki. It takes longer and is a bit more expensive, but you would see the breathtaking archipelago hands on.
You can pretty much get anywhere in Finland using public transportation, so renting a car is usually not required.
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The obvious place within your limits is Porvoo, which has the kind of timbered old town that Helsinki lacks. It's clustered around a historic cathedral and quite picturesque. Fairly frequent buses leave from Kamppi bus station.
You might also consider Tallinn, which is really Helsinki's closest (50 miles or so) neighboring city of any size in spite of being in another country. The ferry trip takes 1½ hours (Linda Line) or 2 (Viking Line, preferable).
You should definitely consider visiting Tallinn, Estonia, only two hours by boat from Helsinki.
I'd say a nice town to visit could be Porvoo. It's the second oldest city in Finland and it's a very idyllic place to visit. It shouldn't take you more than an hour to get there from Helsinki and you can either take a bus or go by car if you like. Here's a website where you'll find more information http://www.porvoo.fi/en.
If you'd like more ideas or information I'd be happy to help :)
I also have a travel blog if you want to check that out, though unfortunately I haven't yet posted anything about Helsinki, but I plan to :) http://www.adventuresofafinn.com/